Rendering to Caeser is a challenge. No matter which candidate becomes President of the United States, I think I will be disappointed. None of the leaders in Australia get me very inspired either. So I am trying to render to Caeser that which is politics while I cling close to God as the real powerhouse of my confidence. (Mark chapter 12, verse 17)
Am I the only one wrestling with this tension? Americans think they avoid the crisis by not voting. Australians by law must vote but for which candidate or party?
Our Christian standards are under serious attack. What used to be called bible absolutes have suddenly become a bunch of maybes. So often I feel hopeless as I watch arguments about marriage and abortion move further away from the plan outlined by the Bible.
Do faith and politics connect? How effective has the Christian message been in Western culture? It is possible for believers to go too far putting their faith in political leaders who are flawed like all of us. No one will measure up to the standards set by Jesus. Nevertheless we want our elected representatives to represent our faith and the basics found in the Ten Commandments.
When God placed man in the Garden of Eden he told them 'to work it and guard it.' (Genesis chapter 2, verse 15) That went great until we disobeyed his wisdom and guidance. The human race dropped its guard and we entered into what we called a fallen world.
We are learning that we cannot raise a fallen world in our own strength. It takes a superbly divine power to overcome the flesh.
Jesus triumphed and invited us to be born again. When we accept, we are transformed and become citizens of His Kingdom, with a new authority and anointing as his representatives. The Apostle Paul described it with a political term. He declared we are 'ambassadors for Christ as though God were making his appeal through us.' (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 20) Ambassadors, meaning we re elected to be his representatives with all the power and dominion that commission provides.
There is an army of courageous Christians who blessed their fellow man through political, spirit- inspired influence.
In Genesis chapter 47 Joseph was placed in charge of all Egypt. He was what today we might call Prime Minister. The wise administration applied by Joseph saved lives during famine.
Oliver Cromwell, William Wilberforce, Sir Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Bishop Festo Kivengere, Mary Whitehouse CBE and so many more, were saints who stood for Christian ethics and rights in the public and political arena.
Dr Billy Graham has been confidante and friend to numerous US presidents. Dr.Martin Luther King powerfully influenced his generation and won the Nobel Peace Prize. (The $50,000 prize-money he donated to the civil rights movement).
The father of the Australian federation Sir Henry Parkes said, "we are pre-eminently a Christian people – as our laws, our whole system of jurisprudence, our Constitution... are based upon and interwoven with our Christian belief"
George Washington famously said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsin fought a continuous literary war with the Soviet Union hierarchy. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970. He suffered in Stalin's prison camps and wrote of the ordeal. When his book 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" was published he offered a prayer:
"How easy it is for me to live with you, Lord!
How easy for me to believe in you,
When my spirit is lost, perplexed and cast down,
When the sharpest can see no further than the night,
And know not what on the morrow they must do
You give me a sure certainty
That you exist, that you are watching over me
And will not permit the ways of righteousness to be closed to me.
Here on the summit of earthly glory I look back astonished
On the road which through depths of despair has led me here.
To this point from which I can also reflect to men your radiance
And all that I can still reflect - you shall grant to me.
And what I shall fail you shall grant to others."
Rev Fred Nile is an ordained minister who heads up the Christian Democratic Party. He has served in the New South Wales Legislative Council for 35 years. The CDP website says they were founded by caring Australians and their movement is 'based on Christian values and ethics.'
The CDP has a published list of Christian values they seek to implement and defend. Just a few might give us some idea of how our interest in politics may help disciple our nation. They strive to uphold a free and democratic society with freedom of speech, the rule of law and stable constitutional government. Second they seek to support and strengthen the family unit as the basis of our society with responsible parenting, with pro-family, pro-child policies and emphatically they say, 'No to euthanasia.'
CDP also stands for "high moral principles in all walks of life and legislation based on biblical ethics and integrity." They have 14 policy pointers at the website www.christianitydemocraticparty.com.au.
The story of each one of the above alongside so many more, reads like extended chapters of the New Testament. Their dedicated contribution personalised 'go into all the world and disciple nations.'
Our frustration with politics and politicians comes when we disagree with them or when their human frailties surface. Government is a human institution and comes with all the fallen nature found in the rest of us. The ultimate, stabilising source can only be the Lord. Everyone else at some stage, will fall short.
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html